On October 13th and 14th, True Grist participated in the first (and hopefully annual) Hops and Harvest festival at Milton’s Kelso Conservation Area, a part of the Glen Eden ski resort. The festival was held at the base of the slopes, with the ski lift active for both days for visitors to ride to the summit and take in a view of the fall colours. The event was organized by Conservation Halton, for which our own member Kent Rundle works for as a restoration ecologist and program coordinator.

On Saturday, Kent and Steven both brewed batches of beer on their propane homebrew systems. Kent brewed a Belgian Golden Ale that was left out overnight to pick up wild yeast and bacteria, while Steven brewed a variation on his Lime Dry Hopped Sour.

True Grist provided brewing demonstrations and discussed beer with people in the beer garden area where commercial breweries were serving guests. Over the course of both days, we met with both local homebrewers as well as beer enthusiasts alike and answered questions ranging from IBU’s and how we brew beer to more advanced topics like Kent’s spontaneous fermentation beer.

We were joined by Milton’s own Orange Snail Brewing, Shawn & Ed Brewing from Dundas, Hogtown Brewing from Toronto, GoodLot Farmstead Brewing as well as Spirit Tree and Two Blokes cideries. The festival organizers paid for our new club banner and looks slick.

We provided malt and hop samples for visitors to sample and smell, and even a fermenting yeast starter.  Brewing proved to be a bit of a challenge when it came to cooling the wort, with no available hydro or water source to run a chiller system. Thankfully, I rigged up system using a racking cane hooked up to my immersion chiller, some large freezer bags full of ice, one empty bucket and a bucket full of water that we hauled from the drinking fountain. That made it work, especially with how cold it was.

On Sunday, Pat Finn and True Grist newcomer and a friend of Pat’s, Cody, joined us for the day. We had a lot of fun, and the diverse crowd that we engaged with really shows how much craft beer has grown and that homebrewing is a quickly growing hobby. We hope to do this again next year, and other similar community events to help grow our club further.

A special thank you goes out to Kent for organizing our participation as well as Conservation Halton for the invitation. The festival as a whole looked to be a huge success for a first year event. And of course, Two Blokes delicious mulled cider kept us warm in that chilly wind!